Miasma Chronicles isn’t perfect but is an absolute blast all the same

Tactical, turn-based shooters are a common find these days, so when they do something different you sit up and pay attention.

Not only when they’re rich with narrative, but when they offer conversational choices, encourage stealth and use miasmic powers to cause untoward environmental damage. Now that sounds like my bag.

Enter Miasma Chronicles, a game that came completely out of nowhere for me and just happened to be made by Bearded Ladies, developers of Mutant Year Zero. One of my favourite indies of the last few years.

The more I learned about this game and the sooner I dived in, the deeper I got and I just fell completely head over heels for it. This, undoubtedly, is my surprise hit of 2023 so far.

I’m going to be telling people to play Miasma Chronicles until I’m blue in the face. I might even sing about it. And do little dances. This game is great.

The game immediately makes the bold choice of keeping you at a party of three. So you don’t have loads of units to maintain or think about, but each character is distinct in their own way and using them effectively is all part of the strategy.

This does often lead into one-route battles, but when they’re as satisfying as they are in Miasma Chronicles, that’s fine by me.

The game effectively blends real-time movement and turn-based combat in a top down environment. But rather than being forced into encounters every time enemies are nearby, you can actually sneak up on them and, if you’re clever and quiet enough, pick groups apart.

You can split your group apart at any point and take on one of your characters as a lone wolf, setting up a juicy ambush.

Using everything from glass bottles, to alarms, you can snipe enemies as Jade using a silencer. And as long as the body stays out of view and doesn’t fall under enemy radar, you get the chance to do it all again with another enemy. And another.

As you get more used to the game, figuring out enemy routes and patterns, you can actually break down a huge group and be the ones to outgun them. Which is so immensely satisfying and rewarding for the player. Stealth and strategy go hand in hand so deliciously well.

But Jade isn’t your only secret weapon as Elvis and Diggs also have their own specialities to tap into. Diggs is a big assed robot who packs a punch but can equally take a few shots in a clutch situation.

And Elvis has the power of the Miasma to tap into with his glove which, among other things, can pick an enemy up and throw them into an obstacle. So you can literally throw an enemy into an explosive barrel if you so wish or to some other form of peril.

This is where Miasma Chronicles differs from others in the genre, it just mixes up formulas you know quite well and gives you a new perspective. All while telling a compelling tale in a near future sci-fi world that’s full of stakes.

The story begins with Elvis trying to use the power of the glove in an effort to find his mother. She’s trapped and seemingly lost on the other side of a wall, and Elvis believes using the power of the glove, harnessing the Miasma storm which is afflicting the world, is his best chance of getting to her.

But the glove keeps fizzling out and losing power, much to Elvis’ frustration and his older brother, who also happens to be a big robot. Because sure, why not.

Elvis speaks to the Mayor of the town, who helps him find some additional sources of power and before long, the journey really begins anew as they encounter Jade and fight against theevers, frogs and everything else inbetween.

The back and forth between the characters really draws you into the world, but there’s also a really fun sub-cast too from the aforementioned mayor, to Bertha, who’s car got burned out by our beloved hero.

This is not an easy-going game, though. Once you learn the essentials and basics about the crit attacks, levelling up, matching up attachments to your weapons and cards to your miasmic powers, so the enemies start to ramp up and the power behind their shots.

Even on the easier difficulties, you’re in for a challenge here but the good news is you can easily spend around 80-90 hours doing all the side quests along with the main mission, and there’s a ton of hidden objects to find and make use of. As well as new weapons and armor pieces to buy from stores. As long as you’ve got the plastic.

The environments are also all super rich, lively, flowing and vibrant with miasma blowing throuhg towns, trees flapping in the winds and light piercing through sheltered areas. The game does slow up when transitioning to cut scenes on Series X and there is a delayed pause sometimes between taking actions, stuttering when taking sudden corners, but none of it game breaking or distracting for longer than seconds at a time.

The game does often boil down to talk to a quest giver, search wide area, take on group of enemies, pick up item and then return it back, so the rhythm definitely becomes familiar, and with only three characters to draw from, you can get very comfortable with their abilities and there isn’t a ton of weapon variety to draw from.

But this is a game that carries and handles itself very well. The story keeps you invested, the mechanics are well-honed, polished and contribute to an overall good gameplay flow, and the satisfaction of the pre-battle really helps make up for the occasionally frustrating RNG breakdowns when firing and missing a shot, even when you’re close enough to do serious damage.

Miasma Chronicles is a real surprise and delight that just wouldn’t relinquish its grip on me, even if I wanted it too. It’s yet another banger to add to the increasing pile of bangers in 2023.


Miasma Chronicles offers a smart twist on real-time strategy and storytelling with a mixture of stealth and turn-based battles. The story is intriguing and the characters gel well and bounce off each other well. Some minor technical hiccups, combined with a limited weapon variety, frustrating difficulty and RNG do bring this down a bit but the content here is rich, enjoyable and plentiful.


+ Characters are able to shine in a group of three with each having clear offerings to the party
+ Story gels well and has an enjoyable, intriguing flow
+ Beautifully realised world with lovely visuals
+ Great satisfaction in the pre-battle and preparation


– Difficulty spike (even on easy) and RNG is a bit offputting
– Some stuttering and technical hiccups

Miasma Chronicles Review

Tested on Xbox Series X / Steam

Code kindly received from 505 for purposes of review

About the author

Jay Jones

Jay is a massive football fan - Manchester Utd in case you were wondering - and lover of gaming. He'll play just about anything, but his vice is definitely Ultimate Team.
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